Canadian Harmony

Suggestions please!

19 posts in this topic

Hi All! I'm new here (but I did introduce myself over in the intro section) and could use some suggestions.

My family and I (me, my husband, two girls 9 and 11) are heading to Coombabah at the end of June for 2 weeks. We lose a day traveling from Canada, so we arrive on a Wednesday and we're leaving 12 days later.

The plan so far. Tell me if this will work:

We're going to rent a campervan in Brisbane and camp on the coast near Surfer's and leave on the Sunday and drive up to Bundaberg. Overnight in Bundaberg then head up to Airlie Beach. We'll do three nights there, with the middle day a ReefWorld Cruise. We'll leave the Wednesday and head down to Rockhampton for an overnight. On Thursday we'll camp near Brisbane and hand in the camper on Saturday when we'll move to a hotel for two nights. On Thursday and Friday we can pop back down to GC to visit any park we'd especially like to see and the Outback Showcase if we haven't done it prior. While in the hotel, we'll take a cruise and hit Lone Pine and the Wheel on the waterfront and not race about. We fly out early Monday morning.

Will that itinerary work, or would you suggest something different?

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Hi Canadian Harmony, I work for a regional tourism organization (a not-for-profit-organization) here in Queensland, and would be happy to offer some tips and suggestions.

You've obviously done a fair bit of research already, but I might be able to offer some help with some suggested stops / must do's etc.

The biggest thing tourists get wrong on their Australian holiday is underestimating the drive times between points of interest. Don't try to cram too much in or you'll spend the whole time driving.

I won't keep prattling on here, but if you want to pm me what type of things you're particularly wanting to see/experience I'll try to advise (I have 2 boys and have extensively travelled and dived the country).

-Dan

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Strop is right on the money - the drive times seem a bit ambitious. You're covering in excess of 1800kms - something that would take almost 20 hours non stop - and thats not counting lone pine, wheel, and any further trips down to the GC.

Somethings to ask:

Are there specific reasons you want to go to Bundaberg, Airlie Beach, Rockhampton?

The reason I ask is you seem to be spending almost zero time in Bundaberg and Rockhampton, and they appear to be waypoints on your way to Airlie. What's the attraction there, as there may be alternatives that are far closer. You may also want to fly domestic - as you'll save loads of time and have more time for the fun activities. 

What are your 'must do' activities?

So far i see a reef cruise, lone pine, the wheel, and presumably - parks. Is there anything else you want to do? Perhaps have a chance to rest? ;)

 

Edited by AlexB

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Exactly what I was trying to ascertain. Some of the best spots to see the reef are accessible from places like Bundaberg or 1770 (lady Musgrave), or even Hervey Bay or the Gold Coast (Lady Elliot).

If it's the Whitsunday's that are the main attraction then flights from Brisbane would save a couple of (long) days of driving.

It really depends on what they want to see.

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Well yes - it's the reef we're aiming to see. My Mum's near Surfer's so we have to go there. The kids and husband want to see the reef, so we're going there. We're used to driving long distances - heck I commute over 100km every day - but if there are good reef tours in Bundy or Hervey Bay, I'd be happier to pop up there for a couple days and then head back down and see Lone Pine and Aussie Zoo while we're in Brissie.

I can google the reef stuff at Bundy and Hervey Bay and see which would work for us. Which place is best for a family excursion, you reckon?

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I live in Brisbane. 100kms isn't a long distance. I drive 140kms just to go to Costco...

I guess the point is it is far easier, much quicker, and probably cheaper to fly to your preferred spot on the reef, than spend two days driving up there. Bundy would offer a good all-round spot, whilst not being absurdly far away - but its still far quicker to fly there.

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^that's the spirit!

Be sure to look at all the airlines, but also consider all their policies... Tiger will generally be the cheapest, but their policies are strict, and if you are late to check in (even if it's their fault) you'll forfeit your fare.

Jetstar is a little better, followed by Virgin, and then Qantas. The service, the inclusions and the perks improve as you go up the chain - but if you just want to get from A-B, Jetstar is probably a happy medium.

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If you go to Cairns, make sure you do a day trip to Green Island. You can see the reef whilst you are out there. Also Palm Cove & the Skyrail/Kuranda are a must IMO!

Cairns is one of my most favourite places to visit. Been up there twice (the first was for a month, accompanying my husband on a working holiday) and absolutely love it ❤

You are also visiting at a better time of year, too. Winter is ideal as temps are a lot milder. It gets very hot and humid in Summer ?

Check out Coconuts Resort for the best family accommodation. Can't recommend it enough ???

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Have a look at Lady Elliot Island as an alternative to flying all the way to Cairns. It is one of the best reef snorkeling spots in the world. It is home to massive Manta Ray & Turtle populations. If you really want a wildlife experience, it can be a bit expensive as you have to fly, but it is definitely worth it.

ladyelliot.com.au

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^that's the spirit!

Be sure to look at all the airlines, but also consider all their policies... Tiger will generally be the cheapest, but their policies are strict, and if you are late to check in (even if it's their fault) you'll forfeit your fare.

Jetstar is a little better, followed by Virgin, and then Qantas. The service, the inclusions and the perks improve as you go up the chain - but if you just want to get from A-B, Jetstar is probably a happy medium.

I noticed the fare differences! I aree, Jetstar seems like a good mid-range. Tiger was WAY cheaper (nearly $400 difference!), but I guess you do get what you pay for. Good tip on Tiger.

If you go to Cairns, make sure you do a day trip to Green Island. You can see the reef whilst you are out there. Also Palm Cove & the Skyrail/Kuranda are a must IMO!

Cairns is one of my most favourite places to visit. Been up there twice (the first was for a month, accompanying my husband on a working holiday) and absolutely love it ❤

You are also visiting at a better time of year, too. Winter is ideal as temps are a lot milder. It gets very hot and humid in Summer ?

Check out Coconuts Resort for the best family accommodation. Can't recommend it enough ???

My ship stopped there for refuelling so a bunch of us ran off for a beer while we waited. Couldn't believe all the galahs in the trees! I'll check out the resort for sure - I've found three that are okay but I haven't settled on any. I found a sweet snorkeling deal through APOD but I'll check out the trip to Green Island too.

Have a look at Lady Elliot Island as an alternative to flying all the way to Cairns. It is one of the best reef snorkeling spots in the world. It is home to massive Manta Ray & Turtle populations. If you really want a wildlife experience, it can be a bit expensive as you have to fly, but it is definitely worth it.

ladyelliot.com.au

I looked at that and found it very confusing on line to see what was available and whatnot. I'll check it out again though.

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The best thing with Jetstar is you can choose your inclusions - so if you're happy to bring along a book and a snack for what is less than 2 hours flight, you can save on things like on board entertainment and meals... and if you're only going for a few days, you can condense your baggage into a few smaller ones to save baggage costs - beware though - know what you'll carry, and stay under it - if you go over, the fees for excess baggage at the terminal are far more than they are pre-paid.

Tiger isn't bad if you're only after the best price, but you MUST make sure you read all the fine print, and follow all the rules. Arrive WAYYYYYYY early for flights and stick strictly to the baggage limits. If price is the motivator - Tiger will always win, you just have to follow their rules!

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I always avoided Tiger due to the bad wrap it had, until I had to fly them as a last resort. Now they are my first choice. Be on time and stick to your weight limits and it's well worth the savings! 

 

Wont go near Virgin, not only are they usually more expensive, they've lost my bags twice, and have cancelled our flights twice knocking half days off our weekend away

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Tiger and Jet Star are both good cheap airlines. Virgin can be dodgy at times but are pretty good otherwise. I've only had one experience with them, but unfortunately the flight got cancelled, we had to take a 3 hour bus drive to another airport where we waited a few hours and then take a really old plane, getting home at 1am, when we were meant to arrive at 8pm. This was international though and I've heard they do better on domestic flights. Qantas is probably the best, being the safest airline in the world* but will require more fees than Jetstar/Tiger. I agree with Jetstar probably being the happy medium.

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I always avoided Tiger due to the bad wrap it had, until I had to fly them as a last resort. Now they are my first choice. Be on time and stick to your weight limits and it's well worth the savings! 

Ditto! Flew to Melbourne & back via Tiger a couple of months ago, completely drama free. They were fantastic! In fact it was my sister who flew via Jetstar who had the problems... she was 1min late and they refused to let her board. Had to pay $100 to get on the next flight. Then on the way back they lost her luggage and she lost a morning of work having to sit around at home whilst they got around to delivering it back to her!

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Yeah, I prefer Virgin Australia thanks to their better product trans Australia. And, not that it has anything to do with flying in Queensland, Qantas has cancelled international flights out of Perth and transferred them to Jetstar Asia - so not a fan.

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